« PreviousContinue »
of the neck is much to be regretted, as from a small fragment left it appears to have been richly ornamented, as shown by a ring of festoonlike scollops, partly indented and partly raised, with alternately moulded bands encircling it.
No evidence is available as to when this building was erected, but there is no reason to ascribe it to a time more remote than the beginning of the cighteenth century, in which case it would be the latest example of the jug practice, which I had ascribed to the hundred years from 1580 to 1680, a period which I have supposed to be covered by the other examples noted.
NOTICE OF AN EARTH-HOUSE AT ARDROSS, FIFE.
By P. MACGREGOR CHALMERS, F.S.A. Scot.
The Largo Field Naturalists' Society were searching in the East Cairn Park, on the farm of Ardross, near Elie, Fife, when, on the 27th March 1878, Mr John Luke discovered an Earth-house, but at a point east of that indicated by local tradition. Reference was made to the discovery at the time in the local newspaper, and in the Society's Proceedings, vol. xii. p. 626, in a communication by Mr Charles Howie, Secretary of the Largo Field Naturalists' Society. A plan was made in the following August by Mr Boothby of Kirkcaldy.
The field was being ploughed on the 2nd March last, when one of the roof-stones of an earth-house was acidentally discovered. The building was examined on the 5th March. When compared with Mr Boothby's plan in the possession of Mr Jamieson, Mr Baird's factor, it was found that this was the same structure as that discovered in 1878.
As no plan accompanied the original notice in the Society's Proceedings, it may be of interest now to complete the record by the plan (fig. 1) and description here given.
The site of the structure is near the summit of the rising ground, about a quarter of a mile north of the farm of Ardross. It commands a
wide view. The entrance is on the east side. The floor of the passage is reached by a stair of ten well-constructed steps leading downwards. Unfortunately the walls and ceiling at this part have been destroyed, and it is impossible to determine the character of the entrance. The height
of the ceiling of the passage is 4 feet 2 inches, measuring from the top of the lowest step. The floor is of compact sand. The walls are constructed without mortar, of small undressed fragments of loca sandstone, roofed over with slabs of the same material.
The passage i about 2 feet 6 inches wide, and about 4 feet high. Two jambs, 3 inches
thick, project from the walls some distance from the entrance, narrowing the passage-way to 1 foot 10 inches. The stones are 2 feet 6 inches and 2 feet 9 inches high, and they rest upon a sill-stone 12 inches broad. There is a small recess or pocket in the wall, 10 inches west of the south jamb. Its edges have been worn smooth. The ceiling is reduced to 3 feet 6 inches in height, at a point 2 feet east of the jambstones. The total length of the passage is about 60 feet. The chamber at the west end is 12 feet 8 inches long, 7 feet 2 inches broad, and 5 feet 9 inches high. The level of the floor is three steps lower than the level of the passage.
The walls lean towards each other, so that at the ceiling they are only 5 feet 6 inches apart. The roofing stones are 74 inches thick.
A carefully tooled stone was discovered in the east wall of the passage near the ceiling, and about 8 feet from the north angle before the passage turns westward to the chamber. It is 6 inches square, smooth on the surface, but marked by thin concentric lines. There is a circular hollow in the centre, 3 inches in diameter, and 14 inches deep.
A broken and irregular block of whinstone was found detached in the débris at the entrance staircase. It is 2 feet 2 inches long, 81 inches thick, and is now 14 inches in breadth. There is a socket-hole 1 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep about 24 inches from the broken edge, and nearly equidistant from the other three sides. The surface is not perfectly level, but slopes downward a quarter of an inch all round from the level of the socket-hole. The surface is marked by concentric scratchings caused by some circular grinding action.
There is some reason to believe that local tradition is well founded, and that there are other early structures in this East Cairn Park to the west of the Earth-house now described. Mr Berwick, of Ardross Farm, has marked the site of a group of stones under the surface of the field, which may be investigated after harvest.
of loca issage
i 3 inches
NOTICE OF THE EXPLORATION OF THE CASTLE ON THE ISLE OF LOCH
DOCHART, PERTHSHIRE. BY MRS PLACE OF Loch DoCHART, WITH DRAWINGS OF THE OBJECTS FOUND, BY MR GORDON PLACE, AND PLANS AND VIEW OF THE CASTLE BY MR THOMAS ROSS, ARCHITECT, F.S.A. Scot.
This ruined castle is situated on an island in Loch Dochart, about 1. miles down the river from Crianlarich Railway Station. The loch, island, and castle are all of small dimensions. The island is not much beyond a stone-throw from the level southern shore, along which the road and railway pass, and a little more from the northern, which is, however, the descent of a lofty precipitous mountain. It is fully an acre in extent, is thickly wooded, and is generally rocky and precipitous, rising perhaps about 18 feet at the highest part above the water. The landing place is on the east side, in a little bay which just holds a rowing boat. (See fig. 1.) Besides the Castle, there are on the island the ruins of two buildings, probably offices, and on the highest part the foundations of a small round structure.
Few oral traditions appear to have gathered around this castle, probably because it was long ago burned with such intent and complete finality. There is a tradition that it was once (or that there was on the island) a religious house. We have in our house at Loch Dochart a very curious old coloured print called “ Loch Dochart, Western Highlands. I. Walmsley, pinxit; F. T. Sargent, Sculpt, 1718.” This, although like the rocky island and possibly like the road before the railway was made, and in outline like the castle, gives large ecclesiastical Gothic windows. Now, the window in the east gable, very ruinous and broken, has been a lofty narrow one going through two storeys, and probably had a pointed form at the top, which may have given rise to the religious-house tradition. Otherwise the windows are small.
Some guide-books say that Bruce sheltered here after the battle of
Dalry, a few miles further up the glen ; and quite recently photographers have begun to print views of the building as “Rob Roy's Castle, Loch Dochart,” neither statement resting on any foundation—as from the Black Book of Taymouth (p. 35) we learn that Sir Duncan Campbell, seventh Laird of Glenorchy, “biggit the howss of Lochdochart, for the workmanship quhairof he gaiff twa thowsand markis, anno”—; the date is not filled in, and can only be fixed as between
Fig. 1. Plan of the Island in Loch Dochart. By Thomas Ross, F.S. A. Scot.
the year of his succession, 1583, and the year of his death, 1631. The house cost him about £1333. The broken stone tablet with his coat of arms (fig. 2) was found near the doorway. It is quartered 1st and Ath, Campbell; 2nd, the Lorship of Lorn; 3rd, Stewart of Lorn. The ninth Laird of Glenurchy, Sir Robert Campbell, who succeeded in 1640, gave to Alexander Campbell, his fourth son, “the lands about Loch Dochart, viz.:--the Yll of Lochdochart and Loch, the port of Lochdochart, Cremlarich, Innerhariff, Gynith, Innerhaggerney beg and Innerhaggerneyemoir, with the scheillis of Conench, Doonich, and Learagan, quhich ar holdine in feu of the house of Glenurquhay."